A $20 ticket to Game 7 of the ALCS in Tampa on a victory Sunday night…

October 21, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

Needless to say it’s been a whirlwind first week of my 40’s. Some folks told me it’d get hectic on the other side of the hill but as Jimmy Buffett once sang, “I can’t run at this pace very long…”

If you haven’t seen the videos on wnsTV, I hope you watch and enjoy them. What I’m basically trying to do is to put you “there” as Brent Musberger would say back in my childhood on CBS. We were there Sunday night for Game 7 and it was extraordinary fun, even for my wife who drove 240 miles at breakneck speed through the Everglades – faster than a hurricane – to see her team lose a dramatic decisive game. (Honestly, and trust me she hears this all the time, I’m done with Boston winning anything! Two baseball titles, bloody socks, Tom Brady comebacks, three Super Bowls and now a Celtics title – enough, already! I don’t openly root against the Red Sox because it does make my wife happy and at least they’re not the Yankees, but my heart ain’t breaking either.)

But even as enthusiastic as the Tampa fans were – and those freaking cowbells are beyond obnoxious after the first half-inning – it’s a little “fake,” this Rays love-in going on. I was wondering this morning, “I wonder how many of those 30,000 or so Rays ‘super fans’ with blue mohawks have even seen 100 Rays games in their lives?”

I mean, I got a ticket on the street for TWENTY DOLLARS last night. A pair for $40! Good seats, as you’ll see on the video. And there were dozens to be had, even in the first inning of the game when we got there. And it’s GAME FREAKING SEVEN!!!

My wife and I drove four hours, changed flights and picked up a cheap hotel to see the game. Obviously, I would’ve paid more. And there were over 1.5 million people in that town – all within 30 minutes of Tropicana Field — and no one thought enough to come out and bid $25 to take my seat.

Bad economy? Sure, no doubt. We’re all feeling that. Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay is sad, but maybe this is what it takes to make a franchise work long term there. Baseball should be a great time for the kids of that community in a cradle of fabulous baseball players and a place where the weather allows Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, etc. a chance to play as much as the Latin players do, which is all day, every day. So, more than anything last night, I saw kids having a good time (probably because their parents could afford to bring them, unlike in Philadelphia this week where the demand will keep ticket prices to $250 per seat and up, even in bad times.) Those kids are having the same memories we had with Boog and Brooks, Cakes and Earl, Cal and Eddie, Brady and Mussina.

The sheer joy is true, but shame on them if that dome is drawing 4,200 people again every night in 2011.

But that fate of “what have you done for me lately” has been the reality of many of these “Johnny come lately” franchises – ie. Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, pick any NHL franchise from Tampa Bay to Carolina, from Nashville to Columbus to Phoenix, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle and New Orleans in the NBA.

But I’m sorta pulling for Tampa Bay, after seeing how the community was all charged up last night. Good for them. Better them for the first time (even though the team probably should’ve never existed in the first place, especially in that retro-carnival tent they play in) than New York or Boston again.

At least that’s how I see it.

Go watch the videos and write and tell me if they suck. Such is the beauty of the internet. Instant feedback

******

Lost in all of my excitement of the impromptu and downright affordable ALCS “roadie” I pulled off with my wife was the Ravens fun win in Miami earlier on Sunday.

I will be writing at length about “Cmac-Gate” when I have a little more time. There’s a LOT going on behind the scenes there and I’ll provide all of the insight I have tomorrow.

I also shot some fun videos of the pre-game excitement with so many purple people in the parking lot in Miami.

Joe Flacco was good. Ray Lewis continues to amaze us. And even Willis McGahee got into the act on Sunday, running the ball the way we expected him to do it.

But this Harbaugh-McAlister war going on inside the Bellagio has more twists and turns than anything we’ve seen since Camp HardBall began.

But like Harbaugh, I’ve got my own problems. We have many issues related to the website launch that I’m dealing with this week.

We know it’s not perfect, but it’s effectively Day 2 for the site.

WNST.net will get better every day moving forward.

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